COVID-19 test positivity rate ticks down in Will County, still 17%

Region 7's hospital capacity slightly improves

The COVID-19 metrics in Will County appeared to slightly improve over the past week as new restrictions went into effect and public officials pleaded with residents to stay home as much as possible.

Will County's average rolling test positivity rate hit a high of 20.2% on Nov. 16. Since then, it has steadily decreased to 17.6% as of last Tuesday, according to the latest Illinois Department of Public Health data.

The South Suburban region, which includes Will and Kankakee counties, recorded a 17.2% average rolling test positivity rate on Tuesday. The region hit a high of 20.7% on both Nov. 15 and 16.

Still, between Nov. 15 and 21, Will County recorded 757 new cases per 100,000 residents, substantially above the IDPH target rate of 50 new cases per 100,000.

The entire state has been under Tier 3 resurgence mitigations to slow the spread of COVID-19 since Nov. 20.

For a region to be able to revert back to Tier 2, it has to record a rolling average test positivity rate below 12% for three consecutive days and have a hospital bed capacity of greater than 20% for the same time period.

The South Suburban region's hospital metrics also saw a slight improvement over the past week.

The region's intensive care unit bed use went above 80% in recent weeks, although it was at 76% as of Thursday. Out of 162 ICU beds with adequate staffing and equipment in the region, 39 were available.

The Will County Health Department has been offering regular opportunities for free testing available to the public each week in Romeoville and University Park.

The number of COVID-19 deaths in Will County recently eclipsed 500 this past week.

Steve Brandy, a spokesman for the Will County Health Department, said he still worries what the numbers will look like by early December if many residents decided to travel for Thanksgiving, despite pleas from officials not to do so.

For information about testing and other COVID-19-related resources, visit willcountyhealth.org.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.